Published by Bookouture Genres: Thriller
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A gripping psychological thriller with a heart-stopping twist
Charley Willis was thirteen years old when her parents were killed in their family home and she was found hiding in a cupboard upstairs.
Fifteen years later, Charley is marrying Seth Chambers. It should be the happiest day of their lives, a chance for Charley to put her past behind her, but just hours after the ceremony, she is missing.
No one saw her leave. No one knows where she is.
One thing is for certain…Seth is about to discover he doesn’t really know the woman he just married. And his nightmare is only just beginning.
A totally gripping psychological thriller that will keep you reading until the very last jaw-dropping twist.
Really excited today to share with you an extract from the opening chapter of the Wife’s Secret. This is on my TBR list and I can’t wait to crack open the book!
PART ONE: EXODUS
They say you can’t choose your family. That might be true, but you can certainly leave them off the guest list when you’re getting married.
As for friends? Well, what counts as a friend? Raj is slumped against a wall in the corner, a best man in name only. A default choice, I suppose, because someone has to do it. You can’t turn up to get married without another bloke in a matching suit at your side. It’s not even about the tradition, it’s someone with whom to make small talk while you’re standing at the front next to the registrar, hoping your wife-to-be hasn’t had second thoughts.
‘Happiest day of your life,’ he muttered as we stood together a few hours ago. He was spouting clichés, but it was true. Well, sort of. How can these things be measured? Has our wedding day been better than the time four of us bunked off school and went to Alton Towers? It should be, of course it should, but a moment in time from more than a decade ago can’t be ranked against something so completely different. Will we laugh more than that time he put a football through a window by accident? It’s been good, though. Very Charley and me. More sparklers in the garden than flashy fireworks booming over Big Ben. Small.
‘She left you already, big man?’
The clap on my back sends me stumbling forward; more the boozy swirl than the force of Rafi’s hand. If you can’t get lashed on the day you get married, then when can you?
Rafi is Raj’s brother. We’re not even that close, but they come as a pair. Buy one Indian friend, get another free. There’s only eleven months between them in age, so I’ve always pitied their poor mother. Five children in a little over four years? People have been given OBEs for less than that.
‘I knew I should’ve got the prenup,’ I laugh. It’s the third or fourth time today I’ve used that line. Standard wedding-day joke. The girl behind the hotel’s reception desk got the first take. Gets a laugh – or at least a forced smile – every time. That’s despite me not owning anything of any particular value. Charley can have half my credit card debt and the mortgage if she wants. If we’re marrying for money, then we’ve each made one hell of a mistake.
Rafi continues giggling through his nose. He’s drunk as well. Not quite sleeping while standing up like his brother, but well on the way.
‘How’s Raj?’ I ask.
We both look to the corner where my best man is proving to be anything but. He is using one hand to hold himself up, the other to cradle his empty pint glass. His eyes are closed but he’s giggling to himself.
‘He keeps popping outside for air,’ Rafi says.
‘Is air a cure for being drunk?’
‘Ha! I found him in a bush five minutes ago. I think he’d fallen asleep. I had to drag him back in here. Good job the speeches are done.’ He licks his lips and peers around the room. ‘Where is the lovely bride?’ he asks.
‘Probably popped to the loo. It takes her ages to hitch that dress up. Alice had to help her out last time. I think it’s a two- or three-person job.’
Even as I’m speaking, I spy Alice near the buffet. She made most of the food, so if anyone gets to enjoy it, it should be her. ‘That’s women, man,’ Rafi says, still laughing. ‘You’re stuck now. Your whole life: one woman.’
Another thing people say when you tell them you’re getting married – especially when you’re still in your twenties. Charley’s twenty-eight and I’m a year younger. A nudge and a wink. One woman, eh? Because, if it wasn’t for Charley, I’d have females hurling themselves at me…
I laugh anyway. It’s the thing to do. Everyone’s a comedian when it comes to christenings, weddings and funerals. That’s what having to get dressed up does to people. We’re all so uncomfortable in our suits, dresses, control underwear and who knows what else that the only way to release tension is repeat the same jokes we’ve heard over and over.
Rafi stumbles away to check on his brother and I’m alone with my nearly finished pint. The room is slowly filling up, although no one can fail to notice that it’s almost entirely people I know. A few faces from work, some old university pals, a couple of the lads from football. You hear ‘reception-only’, you think, ‘free food’, possibly even the chance that the first drink might be paid for by the happy couple. Bottles of wine on the table. Fingers crossed and all that. We’ve all been there.
From nowhere, it feels like I’m being sucked into a pit, a panicked second or two where I try to remember how much I’ve drunk. Is the floor spinning? The ceiling? Me? I’ve not had that much.
Then I realise I’m being pulled at by someone a lot smaller than me.